The founders of White Sulphur Springs' Oakhurst Links Golf Club laid out a simple nine-hole course in a pasture. Members played together every week, and even held an annual tournament (also the first in the country). By 1910, the course had reverted to pasture land, where it lay forgotten until avid golfer Lewis Keller bought the Oakhurst Estate. In 1992 he engaged architect Bob Cupp to restore the course. For many years, golfers played Oakhurst using replica 1800s hickory clubs and gutta percha balls, precursors to the modern-day, rubber-core golf ball. While Oakhurst Links is currently dormant today, it paved the way for many other courses throughout the state and the nation.
In fact, the The C&O Railroad bought White Sulphur Springs' famous Old White Hotel, and by 1913 had built The Greenbrier Hotel and the resort's first golf course, the Old White. The architect, Charles Blair Macdonald, would become one of the most important people in the development of golf in the U.S. In 1924, architect Seth Raynor laid out The Greenbrier's second track, the Greenbrier Course, which was redesigned by Jack Nicklaus for the 1979 Ryder Cup. In 1962, The Greenbrier opened its third course and secured its status as one of the world's foremost golf resorts.
Perhaps the most poignant bit of golfing history in the Mountain State is the late, great "Slammin' Sammy" Snead, who began his career at The Greenbrier in 1936 and went on to become a legend on the PGA Tour. In his later years he served as the resort's affable golf pro emeritus until his death in 2002. Snead shot his last hole-in-one (his 37th) on Hole 18 of the Greenbrier Course in 1995, when he was 83.